Not in the Job Description

“You want me to wake up at what time to fish?” This was the first sentence I clearly remember saying to my new boss Christen Duxbury when she told me the itinerary for the TRCP staff retreat.

I had started as the TRCP communications intern the week before, and while I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and loved fishing for bluegill, waking up at 4 a.m. to fish with my boss and coworkers was not my idea of fun.

The TRCP’s (from left to right) Kendra Bailey, Christen Duxbury, Annie Wilson, Michelle Dietz and Mia Sheppard at a staff retreat.

Unable to feign illness, I showed up and joined the rest of the team in the quest for stripers. And while I was not exactly bright-eyed and bushy tailed, it was my first glimpse into what I signed up for with the TRCP. The level of dedication and enthusiasm present among TRCP staff was palpable.

Some work the daily 9-5 grind to collect a paycheck – TRCP staffers work around the clock because they deeply care about their work. Each one would rather be romping around the great outdoors with a gun or a pole in hand. Instead, more than half of TRCP employees are surrounded by concrete and cubicles in Washington, D.C.  These staffers have the foresight to recognize that by coming into work every day they are helping ensure future generations of sportsmen quality places to hunt and fish – and that if they failed to show up, hunting and fishing would remain at risk.

Throughout my seven-month internship I worked with people like Brandon Helm, who watches a video of a trout stream each morning for inspiration to keep influencing policy for the benefits of sportsmen and the fish and wildlife upon which they depend. Or Duxbury, the public-lands hunting, trail-running bundle of energy who keeps the outdoor community informed about conservation policy. And Bob Hale, TRCP’s numbers man, who takes afternoon walks around the city to escape his office.

I thought I knew hunting and fishing enthusiasts growing up, but working at the TRCP revealed to me a new level of dedication. These people possess enthusiasm not just for the outdoor experience but also for the prolonged conservation and well-being of outdoor resources in this country. Working for the TRCP was an eye-opening experience, not just because of how much I learned professionally, but because the contagious passion of the staff members.

Even if they did make me get up at 4 a.m.

Editor’s note: The TRCP offers internship positions in communications and conservation policy. To learn more contact cduxbury@trcp.org or bhelm@trcp.org.

What Matters Most to Hunters and Anglers?

The TRCP has a simple mission. We strive to guarantee you a place to hunt and fish. Our work falls into three main categories:

  • strengthening laws, policies and practices affecting fish and wildlife conservation;
  • leading partnerships that provide a strong sportsmen’s voice in the decision-making process;
  • building consensus in the conservation community to advance policy solutions.

While our mission sounds simple, we often deal with complex issues. Laws, policies and decision making – the “insider baseball” that takes place on Capitol Hill can be hard for the average person to understand.

In an effort to put our work in tangible and applicable terms, we developed a “cheat sheet” for the everyday sportsman interested in conservation policy. The 2013 Sportsmen’s Conservation Priorities outlines the main areas where we at the TRCP will be focusing our work on behalf of hunters and anglers in 2013.

We’ll be hosting a live chat on Tuesday, March 5, to give you an opportunity to ask questions about the 2013 Sportsmen’s Conservation Priorities. Expect more information and a link to the video conference later this week. In the meantime, take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Setting Priorities and Taking Names

Leadershiptenacity and foresight are three traits of Theodore Roosevelt’s that I most admire. T.R. embodied a certain largeness of character that is, of course, not unusual for many in the political arena. But while the man certainly could talk the talk, here is what set him apart: He got things done.

Bully pulpit or no, exceptional leaders know what it takes to make a tangible and positive impact on the nation and its people. A lot has changed since the days of Roosevelt, but I still believe great things can be accomplished in Washington, D.C., and sportsmen must play a leading role.

The TRCP has outlined the priority issues for sportsmen in 2013. Photo by Dusan Smetana.

This is why we’ve outlined our priority issues for 2013 in our annual Conservation Policy Agenda. Please read them.

I share these priorities with you in the hopes that you’ll be willing to step into the arena when the time comes. And the time will come soon.

What’s more, I hope that you will have the tenacity to carry the discussion about conservation policy into your community. I hope you will take leadership and talk about these issues at your local hunt club or shooting range. Consider hosting a roundtable with friends – those you agree with and those you disagree with – to discuss issues of importance for hunters and anglers. True change requires the foresight to work together and map out the areas in which sportsmen hope to progress in 2013.

It all starts with accurate information. Be sure to read the TRCP Conservation Policy Agenda to learn more, sign up to receive updates from the front lines of conservation via the TRCP’s weekly Roosevelt Report, check out our partner list and find out how you can get more involved.

Join the conversation and let us know areas in which you would like to make a difference in 2013.

 

Sportsmen Take the High Road on Climate Change

Public domain photo.

A couple moments from the inauguration festivities stuck in my mind. The president’s daughters snapping photos with their phones was one. Vice President Joe Biden’s moving tribute to America’s armed forces was another. But among all the pomp and circumstance, special guests and the Washington, D.C., traditions, the most exciting moment for me was President Obama’s vow to address the impacts of climate change.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”

Never before has a president taken such a public stand on climate change. I speak in front of rod and gun clubs across the West and know how tough it can be to talk to people about climate change. It is a point of contention for many, and I commend the president for taking a stance on this hot-button issue in front of the entire nation.

Contentious or not, climate change is real, and it already is affecting our natural resources, fish and wildlife and outdoor opportunities. At the TRCP, we aim to educate sportsmen about the effects of climate change and ensure sportsmen involvement in mitigation efforts.

Rather than debating specific points of air temperature or carbon dioxide data, the TRCP focuses on the cascading effects of a changing climate in the biological world, including impacts to species of fish and game most important to sportsmen. We highlight on-the-ground projects that help fish and wildlife adapt to a changing environment.

We stand ready to work with the administration and members of the sportsman-conservation community to plan for the effects of climate change and rethink the habits that got us here in the first place.

Want to know what the TRCP is doing now? Read the 2013 policy agenda.

Visit the TRCP at Sporting Shows Across the West

TRPC’s Western Outreach Director Neil Thagard speaking about the Sportsman Values Mapping Project.

Join the TRCP in celebrating our outdoor traditions during show season this year. Check out the list of outdoor expositions that TRCP staff members will be attending in the next few months. We hope to see you in the crowd!

January

Denver International Sportsmen’s Exposition

Jan. 17-20

Denver, Colo.

 

The Wild Sheep Foundation’s Sheep Show

Jan. 31-Feb. 2

Reno, Nev.

 

February

Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show

Feb. 6-10

Portland, Ore.

 

Western Hunting and Conservation Exposition

Feb. 21-24

Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Elk Camp

Feb. 28-March 3

Reno, Nev.

 

March

Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show

March 7-10

Bend, Ore.

 

If you want to get in touch with the TRCP at one of these shows, email info@trcp.org. What shows are you attending this season?

Don’t Miss the TRCP at SHOT Show

The TRCP staff can be found at the SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show) and we’re hoping to see you there. The SHOT show is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries.. The TRCP’s President and CEO Whit Fosburgh, Development and Marketing Director Meg McKinnon, Media Relations Director Katie McKalip and Center for Western Lands Director Joel Webster are all attending the show. Here’s what they are up to:

  • Fosburgh and McKinnon are meeting with corporate sponsors, partners and supporters throughout the show.
  • McKalip is convening a communications gathering for professionals in the sportsman-conservation community to discuss tactics and strategies for communicating in 2013.
  • Webster is presenting on a panel discussing roadless area hunting tactics.

If you are attending SHOT Show and interested in meeting up with a member of the TRCP, please email us at info@trcp.org.

Find out where you can meet other TRCP staff members during the upcoming sporting show season.

What Happened in 2012?

From the standpoint of conservation, 2012 will be remembered more for what did not happen than what did happen.

Justifying its place in history as the least productive Congress of all time, the 112th Congress failed to consider the needs of hunters and anglers in a number of big ways. Let’s look at some of the lowlights:

The Farm Bill

Regardless of the strong bipartisan support enjoyed by the Farm Bill, the full bill died in the Senate at the end of 2012. Congress instead passed a nine-month extension that jeopardizes many of the bill’s key conservation programs. If a full Farm Bill fails to pass by October 2013, the Conservation Reserve Program, Grasslands Reserve Program and other key conservation provisions will lose billions in conservation dollars.

President and CEO of the TRCP, Whit Fosburgh, reflects on what 2012 meant for sportsmen. Photo by Dusan Smetana.

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, a near party-line vote by Senate Republicans (the exception being Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine) on a procedural motion effectively killed the bill that had drawn broad bipartisan support throughout the legislative process.

Why did this happen? Because Senate Republicans used the bill to make a political point on a totally unrelated issue (filibuster reform) at the expense of sportsmen. Seeing that others were willing to use the bill to make political statements, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) objected to the bill’s provision on lead ammunition. As a result of these political detours, the clock ran out on the Sportsmen’s Act. Now sportsmen have to start all over again in 2013

Conservation Funding

Congressional inaction was actually a good thing for conservation funding. Instead of passing the House budget bill, which would have gutted most important conservation programs, Congress passed a continuing resolution keeping in place current funding levels through March of 2013.

Similarly, by punting sequestration down the road, sportsmen were spared across-the-board cuts that would have been extremely damaging to programs upon which our outdoor traditions rely. We now must make the case for these important programs as the 113th Congress considers a broader budget deal later in the year.

Public Lands

The 112th Congress succeeded in being the first congress in nearly 70 years to fail to pass a single public lands bill.

After the carnage, a few highlights emerge. Congress passed the RESTORE Act, ensuring that 80 percent of damages from the BP oil spill go back to the Gulf states for restoration. And Congress passed the Billfish Conservation Act, a small but important measure that bans the importation of marlin, sailfish and spearfish.

Unfortunately, Congress was not the only disappointment in 2012. The Obama administration has yet to implement many of the oil and gas leasing reforms announced in 2010, and millions of acres of public lands continue to be leased without proper consideration of fish and wildlife and hunting and fishing.

The administration also failed to issue new regulations to affirm that the Clean Water Act applies to isolated wetlands and intermittent streams, an inaction that contributes to massive wetland conversions in the Prairie Pothole region and elsewhere. To its credit, the administration did launch a major new program to work with private landowners to conserve sage grouse and six other species.

Despite the bleak year that has ended, the sporting community is setting new priorities for working with Congress in 2013. Be ready to join in and make your voice heard – our outdoor traditions will depend on it.